Big stores considering whether you should just keep the stuff you want to return, for free

Target, Gap, American Eagle Outfitters, and other large retailers are reporting that they have a glut of inventory and it's costing them too much to store the stuff. Then there's the pile of inflowing returns. According to retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group, many big name stores—which the firm doesn't name—are considering whether to tell customers to just keep the stuff they want to return. For free. From CNN:

Refunding customers while simultaneously letting them keep their returns isn't a new practice, said Rop. "It started with Amazon several years ago," he said.

The offer makes sense for some types of products — lower price-tier bulky items like furniture, kitchen appliances, home decor, baby chairs, walkers, strollers where it's costly for the retailer to cover the shipping cost for the return.

"Other products like kids' toys, footwear, towels and bedding raise sanitary concerns when it comes to returns. It could also apply to these categories," he said[…]

Still, a "keep it" policy has its own disadvantages, namely: Companies will need to ensure that they don't become victims of fraud.

Uh, yeah, there's that. I'm sure the algorithms can tell though.